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YouTube dominates video search, and quite often, videos on the platform will outrank the same video embedded on a website. This is, of course, problematic if part of your video marketing strategy includes embedding videos with the purpose of controlling the user experience.
To get around competing with YouTube in search results, sites will often change their videos from “Public” to “Unlisted.” However, unlisted YouTube videos have a hidden directive for Google that tells them not to index the video, which also applies to the embedded video. So you either keep your videos Public and compete with YouTube or live with zero visibility in the search results.
All is not lost, though. You can still get your embedded videos to outrank YouTube, and I will tell you how.
For better video SEO, use video hosting that doesn’t compete
It’s possible to set your video to Unlisted while making the embedded video indexable if you use a video hosting platform like Vimeo. Vimeo was the first large video platform to adopt a new Google standard that requests the search engine to index its customers’ embedded videos. The video optimization was so successful that Google wrote a case study about it.
That means you can keep your video hidden on a video hosting platform like Vimeo, and Google won’t index it. But if you embed the same video on your site and Google discovers it, it can be indexed.
That’s just the first step, though. Getting Google to index and rank the embedded video also depends on completing the other steps in this article.
Embed your video at the top of the page
One of the most impactful changes concerns where the video is embedded on the page. Google now recommends that all embedded videos appear above the fold on the page to be eligible for indexing and ranking.
Google wants the video to be the most prominent part of the page, similar to the dedicated video playback pages on YouTube and Vimeo. The change means you can still embed videos on articles and marketing pages, but if you want the video to rank, your best chance is to embed it at the top.
Add video details and transcript
To help Google better understand the content of a video, it needs you to provide details about it. That can be done by including a descriptive title and paragraph below the embedded video. The content on the page can also be an article as long as it’s relevant to the video.
Additionally, providing a video transcript can also help an embedded video rank better. Vimeo automatically creates video transcripts and includes them with its embedded online video player in an optimized way for people and search engines.
Provide structured data about the video
A key component of video SEO and getting embedded videos to rank is to include hidden code called Schema structured data. The code contains specific details about the video, including the title, description, thumbnail image, duration, and more. Google uses the video code to analyze the video and make it eligible for rich results.
YouTube embeds don’t provide the necessary video Schema, but you can use third-party plugins like the Yoast Video SEO plugin to add it for you automatically. If you use Vimeo embeds, then you’re in luck because they automatically include the essential code for you.
What to do after embedding the video
When a page is published with an embedded video, the last crucial step is to ensure Google knows about it. If you’re familiar with a tool by Google called Search Console, you can use its feature called the URL Inspection Tool to request indexing of the page. And if your site uses a sitemap that lists all of your pages, and it’s already been added to Search Console, Google will automatically discover it.
Alternatively, or in addition to using Search Console, you can share the page on social media. Google monitors large platforms and discovers and analyzes links in social posts. So it can be an effective method for getting your embedded videos discovered, indexed, and ranking. As a bonus, if the social post gets high engagement (e.g., likes, reshares, and comments), the page with the embedded video may also get significant exposure and clicks from Google Discover.
Control how people experience your videos
While YouTube may dominate the search engine results, using these video SEO tips will greatly increase your odds of getting your own web pages ranked.
Using a hosting platform like Vimeo removes the guesswork, making it easier for you to focus on creating enjoyable experiences users can easily discover.
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